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"Brutus" Number I
Constitution Society ^ | 18 October 1787 | Anti-Federalist Papers

Posted on 12/06/2001 12:04:43 PM PST by Jim Robinson

"Brutus" Number I

18 October 1787

To the Citizens of the State of New-York.

When the public is called to investigate and decide upon a question in which not only the present members of the community are deeply interested, but upon which the happiness and misery of generations yet unborn is in great measure suspended, the benevolent mind cannot help feeling itself peculiarly interested in the result.

In this situation, I trust the feeble efforts of an individual, to lead the minds of the people to a wise and prudent determination, cannot fail of being acceptable to the candid and dispassionate part of the community. Encouraged by this consideration, I have been induced to offer my thoughts upon the present important crisis of our public affairs.

Perhaps this country never saw so critical a period in their political concerns. We have felt the feebleness of the ties by which these United-States are held together, and the want of sufficient energy in our present confederation, to manage, in some instances, our general concerns. Various expedients have been proposed to remedy these evils, but none have succeeded. At length a Convention of the states has been assembled, they have formed a constitution which will now, probably, be submitted to the people to ratify or reject, who are the fountain of all power, to whom alone it of right belongs to make or unmake constitutions, or forms of government, at their pleasure. The most important question that was ever proposed to your decision, or to the decision of any people under heaven, is before you, and you are to decide upon it by men of your own election, chosen specially for this purpose. If the constitution, offered to your acceptance, be a wise one, calculated to preserve the invaluable blessings of liberty, to secure the inestimable rights of mankind, and promote human happiness, then, if you accept it, you will lay a lasting foundation of happiness for millions yet unborn; generations to come will rise up and call you blessed. You may rejoice in the prospects of this vast extended continent becoming filled with freemen, who will assert the dignity of human nature. You may solace yourselves with the idea, that society, in this favoured land, will fast advance to the highest point of perfection; the human mind will expand in knowledge and virtue, and the golden age be, in some measure, realised. But if, on the other hand, this form of government contains principles that will lead to the subversion of liberty — if it tends to establish a despotism, or, what is worse, a tyrannic aristocracy; then, if you adopt it, this only remaining assylum for liberty will be shut up, and posterity will execrate your memory.

Momentous then is the question you have to determine, and you are called upon by every motive which should influence a noble and virtuous mind, to examine it well, and to make up a wise judgment. It is insisted, indeed, that this constitution must be received, be it ever so imperfect. If it has its defects, it is said, they can be best amended when they are experienced. But remember, when the people once part with power, they can seldom or never resume it again but by force. Many instances can be produced in which the people have voluntarily increased the powers of their rulers; but few, if any, in which rulers have willingly abridged their authority. This is a sufficient reason to induce you to be careful, in the first instance, how you deposit the powers of government.

With these few introductory remarks, I shall proceed to a consideration of this constitution:

The first question that presents itself on the subject is, whether a confederated government be the best for the United States or not? Or in other words, whether the thirteen United States should be reduced to one great republic, governed by one legislature, and under the direction of one executive and judicial; or whether they should continue thirteen confederated republics, under the direction and controul of a supreme federal head for certain defined national purposes only?

This enquiry is important, because, although the government reported by the convention does not go to a perfect and entire consolidation, yet it approaches so near to it, that it must, if executed, certainly and infallibly terminate in it.

This government is to possess absolute and uncontroulable power, legislative, executive and judicial, with respect to every object to which it extends, for by the last clause of section 8th, article 1st, it is declared "that the Congress shall have power to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this constitution, in the government of the United States; or in any department or office thereof." And by the 6th article, it is declared "that this constitution, and the laws of the United States, which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and the treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, any thing in the constitution, or law of any state to the contrary notwithstanding." It appears from these articles that there is no need of any intervention of the state governments, between the Congress and the people, to execute any one power vested in the general government, and that the constitution and laws of every state are nullified and declared void, so far as they are or shall be inconsistent with this constitution, or the laws made in pursuance of it, or with treaties made under the authority of the United States. — The government then, so far as it extends, is a complete one, and not a confederation. It is as much one complete government as that of New-York or Massachusetts, has as absolute and perfect powers to make and execute all laws, to appoint officers, institute courts, declare offences, and annex penalties, with respect to every object to which it extends, as any other in the world. So far therefore as its powers reach, all ideas of confederation are given up and lost. It is true this government is limited to certain objects, or to speak more properly, some small degree of power is still left to the states, but a little attention to the powers vested in the general government, will convince every candid man, that if it is capable of being executed, all that is reserved for the individual states must very soon be annihilated, except so far as they are barely necessary to the organization of the general government. The powers of the general legislature extend to every case that is of the least importance — there is nothing valuable to human nature, nothing dear to freemen, but what is within its power. It has authority to make laws which will affect the lives, the liberty, and property of every man in the United States; nor can the constitution or laws of any state, in any way prevent or impede the full and complete execution of every power given. The legislative power is competent to lay taxes, duties, imposts, and excises; — there is no limitation to this power, unless it be said that the clause which directs the use to which those taxes, and duties shall be applied, may be said to be a limitation: but this is no restriction of the power at all, for by this clause they are to be applied to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States; but the legislature have authority to contract debts at their discretion; they are the sole judges of what is necessary to provide for the common defence, and they only are to determine what is for the general welfare; this power therefore is neither more nor less, than a power to lay and collect taxes, imposts, and excises, at their pleasure; not only [is] the power to lay taxes unlimited, as to the amount they may require, but it is perfect and absolute to raise them in any mode they please. No state legislature, or any power in the state governments, have any more to do in carrying this into effect, than the authority of one state has to do with that of another. In the business therefore of laying and collecting taxes, the idea of confederation is totally lost, and that of one entire republic is embraced. It is proper here to remark, that the authority to lay and collect taxes is the most important of any power that can be granted; it connects with it almost all other powers, or at least will in process of time draw all other after it; it is the great mean of protection, security, and defence, in a good government, and the great engine of oppression and tyranny in a bad one. This cannot fail of being the case, if we consider the contracted limits which are set by this constitution, to the late [state?] governments, on this article of raising money. No state can emit paper money — lay any duties, or imposts, on imports, or exports, but by consent of the Congress; and then the net produce shall be for the benefit of the United States: the only mean therefore left, for any state to support its government and discharge its debts, is by direct taxation; and the United States have also power to lay and collect taxes, in any way they please. Every one who has thought on the subject, must be convinced that but small sums of money can be collected in any country, by direct taxe[s], when the foederal government begins to exercise the right of taxation in all its parts, the legislatures of the several states will find it impossible to raise monies to support their governments. Without money they cannot be supported, and they must dwindle away, and, as before observed, their powers absorbed in that of the general government.

It might be here shewn, that the power in the federal legislative, to raise and support armies at pleasure, as well in peace as in war, and their controul over the militia, tend, not only to a consolidation of the government, but the destruction of liberty. — I shall not, however, dwell upon these, as a few observations upon the judicial power of this government, in addition to the preceding, will fully evince the truth of the position.

The judicial power of the United States is to be vested in a supreme court, and in such inferior courts as Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The powers of these courts are very extensive; their jurisdiction comprehends all civil causes, except such as arise between citizens of the same state; and it extends to all cases in law and equity arising under the constitution. One inferior court must be established, I presume, in each state, at least, with the necessary executive officers appendant thereto. It is easy to see, that in the common course of things, these courts will eclipse the dignity, and take away from the respectability, of the state courts. These courts will be, in themselves, totally independent of the states, deriving their authority from the United States, and receiving from them fixed salaries; and in the course of human events it is to be expected, that they will swallow up all the powers of the courts in the respective states.

How far the clause in the 8th section of the 1st article may operate to do away all idea of confederated states, and to effect an entire consolidation of the whole into one general government, it is impossible to say. The powers given by this article are very general and comprehensive, and it may receive a construction to justify the passing almost any law. A power to make all laws, which shall be necessary and proper, for carrying into execution, all powers vested by the constitution in the government of the United States, or any department or officer thereof, is a power very comprehensive and definite [indefinite?], and may, for ought I know, be exercised in a such manner as entirely to abolish the state legislatures. Suppose the legislature of a state should pass a law to raise money to support their government and pay the state debt, may the Congress repeal this law, because it may prevent the collection of a tax which they may think proper and necessary to lay, to provide for the general welfare of the United States? For all laws made, in pursuance of this constitution, are the supreme lay of the land, and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, any thing in the constitution or laws of the different states to the contrary notwithstanding. — By such a law, the government of a particular state might be overturned at one stroke, and thereby be deprived of every means of its support.

It is not meant, by stating this case, to insinuate that the constitution would warrant a law of this kind; or unnecessarily to alarm the fears of the people, by suggesting, that the federal legislature would be more likely to pass the limits assigned them by the constitution, than that of an individual state, further than they are less responsible to the people. But what is meant is, that the legislature of the United States are vested with the great and uncontroulable powers, of laying and collecting taxes, duties, imposts, and excises; of regulating trade, raising and supporting armies, organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, instituting courts, and other general powers. And are by this clause invested with the power of making all laws, proper and necessary, for carrying all these into execution; and they may so exercise this power as entirely to annihilate all the state governments, and reduce this country to one single government. And if they may do it, it is pretty certain they will; for it will be found that the power retained by individual states, small as it is, will be a clog upon the wheels of the government of the United States; the latter therefore will be naturally inclined to remove it out of the way. Besides, it is a truth confirmed by the unerring experience of ages, that every man, and every body of men, invested with power, are ever disposed to increase it, and to acquire a superiority over every thing that stands in their way. This disposition, which is implanted in human nature, will operate in the federal legislature to lessen and ultimately to subvert the state authority, and having such advantages, will most certainly succeed, if the federal government succeeds at all. It must be very evident then, that what this constitution wants of being a complete consolidation of the several parts of the union into one complete government, possessed of perfect legislative, judicial, and executive powers, to all intents and purposes, it will necessarily acquire in its exercise and operation.

Let us now proceed to enquire, as I at first proposed, whether it be best the thirteen United States should be reduced to one great republic, or not? It is here taken for granted, that all agree in this, that whatever government we adopt, it ought to be a free one; that it should be so framed as to secure the liberty of the citizens of America, and such an one as to admit of a full, fair, and equal representation of the people. The question then will be, whether a government thus constituted, and founded on such principles, is practicable, and can be exercised over the whole United States, reduced into one state?

If respect is to be paid to the opinion of the greatest and wisest men who have ever thought or wrote on the science of government, we shall be constrained to conclude, that a free republic cannot succeed over a country of such immense extent, containing such a number of inhabitants, and these encreasing in such rapid progression as that of the whole United States. Among the many illustrious authorities which might be produced to this point, I shall content myself with quoting only two. The one is the baron de Montesquieu, spirit of laws, chap. xvi. vol. I [book VIII]. "It is natural to a republic to have only a small territory, otherwise it cannot long subsist. In a large republic there are men of large fortunes, and consequently of less moderation; there are trusts too great to be placed in any single subject; he has interest of his own; he soon begins to think that he may be happy, great and glorious, by oppressing his fellow citizens; and that he may raise himself to grandeur on the ruins of his country. In a large republic, the public good is sacrificed to a thousand views; it is subordinate to exceptions, and depends on accidents. In a small one, the interest of the public is easier perceived, better understood, and more within the reach of every citizen; abuses are of less extent, and of course are less protected." Of the same opinion is the marquis Beccarari.

History furnishes no example of a free republic, any thing like the extent of the United States. The Grecian republics were of small extent; so also was that of the Romans. Both of these, it is true, in process of time, extended their conquests over large territories of country; and the consequence was, that their governments were changed from that of free governments to those of the most tyrannical that ever existed in the world.

Not only the opinion of the greatest men, and the experience of mankind, are against the idea of an extensive republic, but a variety of reasons may be drawn from the reason and nature of things, against it. In every government, the will of the sovereign is the law. In despotic governments, the supreme authority being lodged in one, his will is law, and can be as easily expressed to a large extensive territory as to a small one. In a pure democracy the people are the sovereign, and their will is declared by themselves; for this purpose they must all come together to deliberate, and decide. This kind of government cannot be exercised, therefore, over a country of any considerable extent; it must be confined to a single city, or at least limited to such bounds as that the people can conveniently assemble, be able to debate, understand the subject submitted to them, and declare their opinion concerning it.

In a free republic, although all laws are derived from the consent of the people, yet the people do not declare their consent by themselves in person, but by representatives, chosen by them, who are supposed to know the minds of their constituents, and to be possessed of integrity to declare this mind.

In every free government, the people must give their assent to the laws by which they are governed. This is the true criterion between a free government and an arbitrary one. The former are ruled by the will of the whole, expressed in any manner they may agree upon; the latter by the will of one, or a few. If the people are to give their assent to the laws, by persons chosen and appointed by them, the manner of the choice and the number chosen, must be such, as to possess, be disposed, and consequently qualified to declare the sentiments of the people; for if they do not know, or are not disposed to speak the sentiments of the people, the people do not govern, but the sovereignty is in a few. Now, in a large extended country, it is impossible to have a representation, possessing the sentiments, and of integrity, to declare the minds of the people, without having it so numerous and unwieldly, as to be subject in great measure to the inconveniency of a democratic government.

The territory of the United States is of vast extent; it now contains near three millions of souls, and is capable of containing much more than ten times that number. Is it practicable for a country, so large and so numerous as they will soon become, to elect a representation, that will speak their sentiments, without their becoming so numerous as to be incapable of transacting public business? It certainly is not.

In a republic, the manners, sentiments, and interests of the people should be similar. If this be not the case, there will be a constant clashing of opinions; and the representatives of one part will be continually striving against those of the other. This will retard the operations of government, and prevent such conclusions as will promote the public good. If we apply this remark to the condition of the United States, we shall be convinced that it forbids that we should be one government. The United States includes a variety of climates. The productions of the different parts of the union are very variant, and their interests, of consequence, diverse. Their manners and habits differ as much as their climates and productions; and their sentiments are by no means coincident. The laws and customs of the several states are, in many respects, very diverse, and in some opposite; each would be in favor of its own interests and customs, and, of consequence, a legislature, formed of representatives from the respective parts, would not only be too numerous to act with any care or decision, but would be composed of such heterogenous and discordant principles, as would constantly be contending with each other.

The laws cannot be executed in a republic, of an extent equal to that of the United States, with promptitude.

The magistrates in every government must be supported in the execution of the laws, either by an armed force, maintained at the public expence for that purpose; or by the people turning out to aid the magistrate upon his command, in case of resistance.

In despotic governments, as well as in all the monarchies of Europe, standing armies are kept up to execute the commands of the prince or the magistrate, and are employed for this purpose when occasion requires: But they have always proved the destruction of liberty, and [are] abhorrent to the spirit of a free republic. In England, where they depend upon the parliament for their annual support, they have always been complained of as oppressive and unconstitutional, and are seldom employed in executing of the laws; never except on extraordinary occasions, and then under the direction of a civil magistrate.

A free republic will never keep a standing army to execute its laws. It must depend upon the support of its citizens. But when a government is to receive its support from the aid of the citizens, it must be so constructed as to have the confidence, respect, and affection of the people." Men who, upon the call of the magistrate, offer themselves to execute the laws, are influenced to do it either by affection to the government, or from fear; where a standing army is at hand to punish offenders, every man is actuated by the latter principle, and therefore, when the magistrate calls, will obey: but, where this is not the case, the government must rest for its support upon the confidence and respect which the people have for their government and laws. The body of the people being attached, the government will always be sufficient to support and execute its laws, and to operate upon the fears of any faction which may be opposed to it, not only to prevent an opposition to the execution of the laws themselves, but also to compel the most of them to aid the magistrate; but the people will not be likely to have such confidence in their rulers, in a republic so extensive as the United States, as necessary for these purposes. The confidence which the people have in their rulers, in a free republic, arises from their knowing them, from their being responsible to them for their conduct, and from the power they have of displacing them when they misbehave: but in a republic of the extent of this continent, the people in general would be acquainted with very few of their rulers: the people at large would know little of their proceedings, and it would be extremely difficult to change them. The people in Georgia and New-Hampshire would not know one another's mind, and therefore could not act in concert to enable them to effect a general change of representatives. The different parts of so extensive a country could not possibly be made acquainted with the conduct of their representatives, nor be informed of the reasons upon which measures were founded. The consequence will be, they will have no confidence in their legislature, suspect them of ambitious views, be jealous of every measure they adopt, and will not support the laws they pass. Hence the government will be nerveless and inefficient, and no way will be left to render it otherwise, but by establishing an armed force to execute the laws at the point of the bayonet — a government of all others the most to be dreaded.

In a republic of such vast extent as the United-States, the legislature cannot attend to the various concerns and wants of its different parts. It cannot be sufficiently numerous to be acquainted with the local condition and wants of the different districts, and if it could, it is impossible it should have sufficient time to attend to and provide for all the variety of cases of this nature, that would be continually arising.

In so extensive a republic, the great officers of government would soon become above the controul of the people, and abuse their power to the purpose of aggrandizing themselves, and oppressing them. The trust committed to the executive offices, in a country of the extent of the United-States, must be various and of magnitude. The command of all the troops and navy of the republic, the appointment of officers, the power of pardoning offences, the collecting of all the public revenues, and the power of expending them, with a number of other powers, must be lodged and exercised in every state, in the hands of a few. When these are attended with great honor and emolument, as they always will be in large states, so as greatly to interest men to pursue them, and to be proper objects for ambitious and designing men, such men will be ever restless in their pursuit after them. They will use the power, when they have acquired it, to the purposes of gratifying their own interest and ambition, and it is scarcely possible, in a very large republic, to call them to account for their misconduct, or to prevent their abuse of power.

These are some of the reasons by which it appears, that a free republic cannot long subsist over a country of the great extent of these states. If then this new constitution is calculated to consolidate the thirteen states into one, as it evidently is, it ought not to be adopted.

Though I am of opinion, that it is a sufficient objection to this government, to reject it, that it creates the whole union into one government, under the form of a republic, yet if this objection was obviated, there are exceptions to it, which are so material and fundamental, that they ought to determine every man, who is a friend to the liberty and happiness of mankind, not to adopt it. I beg the candid and dispassionate attention of my countrymen while I state these objections — they are such as have obtruded themselves upon my mind upon a careful attention to the matter, and such as I sincerely believe are well founded. There are many objections, of small moment, of which I shall take no notice — perfection is not to be expected in any thing that is the production of man — and if I did not in my conscience believe that this scheme was defective in the fundamental principles — in the foundation upon which a free and equal government must rest — I would hold my peace.

Brutus.


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1 posted on 12/06/2001 12:04:43 PM PST by Jim Robinson
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To: Jim Robinson
A free republic will never keep a standing army to execute its laws.

This was another one that jumped out at me when I first read the "Anti-Federalist Papers." We've come a long way -- and I'm not at all happy at where we are.

2 posted on 12/06/2001 12:14:11 PM PST by Publius
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To: Jim Robinson; GovernmentShrinker
Bump and bookmarked for latter
3 posted on 12/06/2001 12:14:17 PM PST by Free the USA
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To: Jim Robinson
The Federalist Papers?  Now there's a subversive set of documents if I ever saw some.  I would that we had heeded the wisdom expressed in them.  Just these few highlited comments in red offer enough wisdom to keep us busy for the rest of our lives.

Momentous then is the question you have to determine, and you are called upon by every motive which should influence a noble and virtuous mind, to examine it well, and to make up a wise judgment. It is insisted, indeed, that this constitution must be received, be it ever so imperfect. If it has its defects, it is said, they can be best amended when they are experienced. But remember, when the people once part with power, they can seldom or never resume it again but by force. Many instances can be produced in which the people have voluntarily increased the powers of their rulers; but few, if any, in which rulers have willingly abridged their authority. This is a sufficient reason to induce you to be careful, in the first instance, how you deposit the powers of government.

A free republic will never keep a standing army to execute its laws. It must depend upon the support of its citizens. But when a government is to receive its support from the aid of the citizens, it must be so constructed as to have the confidence, respect, and affection of the people." Men who, upon the call of the magistrate, offer themselves to execute the laws, are influenced to do it either by affection to the government, or from fear; where a standing army is at hand to punish offenders, every man is actuated by the latter principle, and therefore, when the magistrate calls, will obey: but, where this is not the case, the government must rest for its support upon the confidence and respect which the people have for their government and laws. The body of the people being attached, the government will always be sufficient to support and execute its laws, and to operate upon the fears of any faction which may be opposed to it, not only to prevent an opposition to the execution of the laws themselves, but also to compel the most of them to aid the magistrate; but the people will not be likely to have such confidence in their rulers, in a republic so extensive as the United States, as necessary for these purposes. The confidence which the people have in their rulers, in a free republic, arises from their knowing them, from their being responsible to them for their conduct, and from the power they have of displacing them when they misbehave: but in a republic of the extent of this continent, the people in general would be acquainted with very few of their rulers: the people at large would know little of their proceedings, and it would be extremely difficult to change them. The people in Georgia and New-Hampshire would not know one another's mind, and therefore could not act in concert to enable them to effect a general change of representatives. The different parts of so extensive a country could not possibly be made acquainted with the conduct of their representatives, nor be informed of the reasons upon which measures were founded. The consequence will be, they will have no confidence in their legislature, suspect them of ambitious views, be jealous of every measure they adopt, and will not support the laws they pass. Hence the government will be nerveless and inefficient, and no way will be left to render it otherwise, but by establishing an armed force to execute the laws at the point of the bayonet — a government of all others the most to be dreaded.

Thank you very much Jim.  The extensive study of the Federalist Papers and other documents circa the period surrounding the creation of our nation, would lead one to realize that WE HAVE ALLOWED OUR NATION TO BECOME SOMETHING THAT HAD NEVER BEEN THE INTENTION OF OUR FOREFATHERS.  And how much less the realization of the ideal will be, should we persue the move toward globalism and world government.  Every step that removes the individual citizen farther away from the seat of decision making that affects their lives, the worse their lives will become.

It is the socialist state that we have become that disturbs me, and the complete and utter lack of individuals to recognize it, that convinces me that we are powerless to right the ship of state.  Only through the concerted focused efforts of an entity such as FreeRepublic, could that possibly be reversed.  Onward then...

4 posted on 12/06/2001 12:39:29 PM PST by DoughtyOne
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To: Jim Robinson
Reading this practically reduced me to tears ...... Someday, somewhere, free men shall again walk this earth.
5 posted on 12/06/2001 1:11:18 PM PST by thusevertotyrants
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To: Jim Robinson
Now the question is, can the people who frequant this forum realize that what this means is, its not the Democrats' fault with the Republicans being the good guys - thefault is with the Federal government - ALL of it, all its people, all its factions, all its institutions
6 posted on 12/06/2001 1:16:34 PM PST by thusevertotyrants
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To: Jim Robinson
Bump!
7 posted on 12/06/2001 1:16:45 PM PST by CJ Wolf
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To: CJ Wolf
Pulling it all together, what we have right here in our own country are all of the ingredients necessary for a totalitarian police state. We have a federal government that nobody in his right mind would trust, which lies to us incessantly, uses illegal force against its citizens with impunity, and collaborates with totalitarian dictators under cover of a massive propaganda campaign conducted by our supposedly free press. Our major information media are dominated by closet totalitarians who pay lip service to democracy while covertly promoting the interests of communist despots. The political opposition is made up largely of cowards who are so intimidated by our totalitarian propaganda media they are unable to offer effective resistance to even the most egregious violations of civil liberties by the corrupt Clinton regime. They have become, in the fullest sense of the term, Weimar Republicans. And finally, we have that which makes it all possible, a listless, docile, dumbed-down public who gape mindlessly at all of the above phenomena without the slightest glimmer of comprehension, and prattle the latest propaganda cliches dumped into their empty heads by the mainstream media.

The Elian affair has truly given us a glimpse into the abyss of tyranny. The message that comes through loud and clear is that the system isn't working. The question that remains to be answered is whether we still possess the intelligence and fortitude necessary to fix it.

Edward Zehr can be reached at ezehr@capaccess.org

Published in the May. 22, 2000 issue of The Washington Weekly

Copyright 2000 The Washington Weekly.

8 posted on 12/06/2001 1:18:32 PM PST by f.Christian
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To: f.Christian
Yes yes and yes, right up until you get to the Elian part ..... The way I saw it, the Elian saga was one all too rare instance where the Fed actually realized and exercised their proper role. The decision was Elian's father's to make, and noone elses.
9 posted on 12/06/2001 1:23:15 PM PST by thusevertotyrants
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To: thusevertotyrants
A LOOK INTO THE ABYSS

What Elian Tells Us About Ourselves

By Edward Zehr

"They have become, in the fullest sense of the term, Weimar Republicans."

Oh no, the reader thinks upon seeing the subtitle of this piece, not another article about Elian. But this series of articles is only incidentally about Elian -- it's really about us and what is happening to us. The Elian affair is like a mirror that reflects our hidden face, the one we never identify with ourselves because we always imagine that it belongs to somebody else.

For example, I get e-mail from people who have chanced to read one or more of these articles and drop me a cordial line or two just to let me know what a numbskull I am. After all, the way I tell the story is not the way they have heard it. If my version were correct it would mean that they have been grossly misinformed, and the implications of that are too terrible to contemplate.

It would mean that in order to be properly informed they would have to stop skating over the surface of issues such as these, letting the anchor people do all the heavy lifting, and start doing their own thinking. But thinking can be kind of like work. Besides, a lot of people just don't quite have the hang of it. The raw material required to do one's own thinking consists of facts gathered from a wide variety of sources, not just the one that happens to materialize when the TV set is switched on.

The "facts" presented by the mass media are typically folded into a smarmy batter of tendentious fiction calculated to elicit a response from the viewer that will be useful in advancing the hidden agenda which the presstitutes are paid to promote. The viewer, who does not comprehend that he or she is being manipulated responds emotionally, as though watching a soap opera or a TV series. After all, most people have a lot more experience responding emotionally to TV plots than they have at thinking critically and analytically. The script writer manipulates the emotions of the audience who respond in a predictable fashion. The viewers are being conditioned to react in a certain way. The leap from the semi-conscious emotional response evoked by TV "entertainment" to the conditioned response elicited by the politically motivated propaganda inserted into "news" presentations is a short one.

THE FACE IN THE MIRROR

The black-shirted, brown-shirted and red-banner-waving totalitarians of the twentieth century missed the point on a grand scale. All that rough stuff is really unnecessary in building a totalitarian state. In fact, if overdone, it tends to give the game away. Goebbels was the one who had it right, not Himmler. Concentration camps are a drain on the economy. That doesn't mean that you cannot turn the occasional group of retrograde religious fundies into crispy critters if...

10 posted on 12/06/2001 1:30:02 PM PST by f.Christian
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To: thusevertotyrants
Kai su, Teknon?
11 posted on 12/06/2001 1:30:52 PM PST by Doctor Stochastic
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To: Doctor Stochastic
say what?
12 posted on 12/06/2001 1:33:34 PM PST by thusevertotyrants
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To: Doctor Stochastic
If your comment is in referance to the Elian ordeal, then here goes: The decisions regarding the future of an 8 year old boy rest with his parents - even if those parents have political idealogies different from our own. Elians relatives in Miami, although well meaning, in the end were eventually keeping the boy away from his father, supposedly for his best interest but thats not whats really relevant here. Bottom line is, they were kidnappers - The police force took the child from the kidnappers and gave him back to his father - end of story. It seems to be a very unpopular stance to take, but I offer that I have no interest and never HAD any interest in what was best for Elian - my interest is in how to defend liberty - i.e. - my right to make decisions for myself and for my dependants
13 posted on 12/06/2001 1:39:53 PM PST by thusevertotyrants
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To: thusevertotyrants
Janet Copperfield...you like him?
14 posted on 12/06/2001 2:04:05 PM PST by f.Christian
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To: thusevertotyrants
You gotta be kidding. Busting down a citizen's door and coming after him in the dead of night with hooded machine gunners to take a six year old boy is the federal government's duty?
15 posted on 12/06/2001 2:20:58 PM PST by Jim Robinson
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To: thusevertotyrants
"..the fault is with..." By design I believe. I don't think the founding fathers believed there to be a perfect govenment so they set it up to be inefficient in order for it to be able to do the least amount of damage.

I've no business commenting really--I haven't read the entire article. It's long. I need to print it out and read it.

16 posted on 12/06/2001 2:23:02 PM PST by Boxsford
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To: thusevertotyrants
'kidnappers'? They may have wanted something for that boy that their father didn't, but they did not kidnap the child. His mother brought him over here. (or attempted to do so) Still, I follow you about the rights of the father. Something sorely missing in this nation too. Our gov. was way out of line, however, they should have gone through the court system. That avenue had not been exhausted.
17 posted on 12/06/2001 2:31:26 PM PST by Boxsford
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To: Luis Gonzalez
bttt
18 posted on 12/06/2001 2:35:47 PM PST by f.Christian
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To: thusevertotyrants
"Kidnappers"? You bought into the whole ball of lies from the left. The DoJ requested, on more than one occasion, that the Federal Courts deciding the case, issue an order compelling the Lazaro Gonzalez family to turn Elian over to Juan Miguel, the Federal Court refused to act in that manner each and every time the request was made. Furthermore, those same Federal Judges issued a Court order mandating that Elian remain on US soil until his case had been heard, and a decision rendered.

The DoJ had a warrant sworn out for one Elian Gonzalez, an illegal alien, believed to be hiding at "(insert Lazaro's address here)". Elian was here under a Federal Court order, impossible to be here illegally if a Federal Courts tells you that you can't leave, and if he was indeed arrested, his Miranda rights were never read to him, and council was denied.

Elian Gonzalez was born out of wedlock, and Juan Miguel was a non-custodial parent. There where no tests run to authenticate the claim of fatherhood on Juan Miguel's part. When originally interviewed in Cuba by a US INS agent, Juan Miguel was asked whether he would like to go to the USA to get Elian, he answered "no".

Do you believe that in the US, courts should award custody of an orphaned child to a non-custodial parent without ascertaining paternity first?

You are supporting one of the most criminal acts perpetrated by the Clinton administration, and a violation of at least two, if not more, amendments to the Constitution.

19 posted on 12/06/2001 3:28:59 PM PST by Luis Gonzalez
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To: Luis Gonzalez
bttt
20 posted on 12/06/2001 4:29:24 PM PST by f.Christian
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Comment #21 Removed by Moderator

To: Luis Gonzalez
BUMP!!
22 posted on 12/06/2001 4:43:29 PM PST by moonman
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To: Luis Gonzalez
You got that right. Thanks my friend for stating facts,not that it will do any good with the, "fathers rights group". Elian's case was not about parental rights. It was about what Castro told Clinton to do......& Clinton did it! To hell with Elian's rights and what was best for a child.
23 posted on 12/06/2001 5:05:02 PM PST by fleebag
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To: fleebag
Good Lord, it is GOOD to *see* you, I hope that you are well
24 posted on 12/06/2001 5:14:20 PM PST by Luis Gonzalez
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To: Leo the Lion; moonman; fleebag
One week from tonight! FR Radio presents "An Evening With The Banana Republican" (that's me), with Special Guest, Donato Dalrymple!

Be there!

Somebody please post THE PICTURE!!!

25 posted on 12/06/2001 5:15:07 PM PST by Luis Gonzalez
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To: Jim Robinson
"A power to make all laws, which shall be necessary and proper, for carrying into execution, all powers vested by the constitution in the government of the United States, or any department or officer thereof, is a power very comprehensive and definite [indefinite?], and may, for ought I know, be exercised in a such manner as entirely to abolish the state legislatures."

The Federalist Papers, the Anti-Federalist Papers, and the ratification debates should be required reading for every American before graduation from High School, and every prospective American citizen.

It's clear that the anti-federalists simply wanted the protections afforded by a stronger union, be abhorred the proposed Constitution, especially with it's lack of a Bill of Rights. Too much power was to be given up, and the new government a despotic monolith that would crush the states at will. Numerous states, especially New York, wrote into their ratification (a contract) that the powers not delegated to the new Federal government were retained by the states, and required a Bill of Rights.

The Federalists promised that this was the case, and that the national government would be limited. The problem was, we fell for it.

26 posted on 12/06/2001 5:21:13 PM PST by 4CJ
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To: Luis Gonzalez
Thanks for missing me.*grin* I'm doing fine,being nurse 24/7 to my honey. Keeps me out of mischief. Stay safe my friend.
27 posted on 12/06/2001 5:22:58 PM PST by fleebag
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To: Luis Gonzalez
Oh, I forgot to say......I'll try to find you next week on Fr Radio!
28 posted on 12/06/2001 5:25:34 PM PST by fleebag
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To: Jim Robinson
I guess the point I am trying to convey is that Elian's fate was for his father to decide - regardless of whether that decision jibes with anyone else's sense of what may or may not be best for the child. Now, with the child being kept away from his father, there is a wrong being committed - Now comes the tricky part, who or what is empowered to rectify this wrong? - Is it a Federal police authority? Is it state? Local? Is it Elian's father alone? I dont pretend to have all the answers and I only wish that the Fed's motives in doing what they did were so idealogically pure. To that end, the courts had no business being involved at all. Perish the day when some court must sanction my right to be a father to my child. (And yes, I find it equally repugnant that so many need to be confronted by a court mandate in order that they exercise their DUTY to be a father to their child) Obviously I have Libertarian type views, and often face the response of "If only it were so simple" or somesuch. In truth, there is no reason things shouldnt BE so simple. INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY ..... seeking neither to rule nor to be ruled, to be neithere benefactor nor beneficiary ... recognizing that "all men are created equal" means that any right or prerogative or behavior I claim for myself I must be willing to sanction for others. While all men may be "created equal" in the sense that none has divine right to rule over others, this doesnt equate to sanction any authority to ensure equal entitlement for all, or to level the playing field in any sense. In the end, what makes humanity great and what is it that none can take from any other - each individual's unique mind and identity.
29 posted on 12/06/2001 5:55:53 PM PST by thusevertotyrants
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To: thusevertotyrants
Well, the fact of the matter is, America is not Nazi Germany. Or, at least, it's not supposed to be. We already know what Janet Reno and her government storm troopers are capable of. You do not serve warrants on men, women and children with tanks! You do not save the children from alleged child abuse by burning them to death! And you do not send storm troopers with machine guns to terrorize a six year old child! Sheesh! Janet Reno should be in rotting in prison (or hell) for either of these horrific abuses. This was not exactly a shining example of American justice.
30 posted on 12/06/2001 6:31:24 PM PST by Jim Robinson
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To: Jim Robinson
Neither was it a shinging example of family harmony. Elian was and is a Cuban citizen. His detention on US soil becomes an issue between the United States and Cuba, and one of the powers the Fed SHOULD retain is attending to our foreign relations. Try this - reverse the situation. A mother takes her child and heads for Cuba, dying along the way. The child's extended family in Cuba then refuses to let the child's father in America have him back. What would you think then? That the evil communists have abducted an American citizen? Or try this? Since we arent supposed to go busting in with machine guns to terrify citizens, what of the young university student about whom there was a thread last night? The one who got a visit from the Fed because of a poster in her dorm room - If I whisper to the authorities that so and so is against the government, does that give the Fed the right to stage a raid under the theory of a "plausible threat against the president?" Or is this different because the student in question happened to be a Liberal? If you sanction the right for Elian's Miami based relatives to take custody of him because they feel he is better off being "free" in America, then, my friend, you sanction some authority to seperate YOU from YOUR child under should they propose the same premise .... I wouldnt suppose that you think that "democracy" means that 51 a majority vote can decide what is to become of you or your child? F-R-E-E-D-O-M --- it isnt simple, it isnt easy, it is a guarantee of nothing save itself, and it entails tremendous personal responsibility
31 posted on 12/06/2001 6:47:50 PM PST by thusevertotyrants
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To: thusevertotyrants
To: thusevertotyrants

"Kidnappers"? You bought into the whole ball of lies from the left. The DoJ requested, on more than one occasion, that the Federal Courts deciding the case, issue an order compelling the Lazaro Gonzalez family to turn Elian over to Juan Miguel, the Federal Court refused to act in that manner each and every time the request was made. Furthermore, those same Federal Judges issued a Court order mandating that Elian remain on US soil until his case had been heard, and a decision rendered.

The DoJ had a warrant sworn out for one Elian Gonzalez, an illegal alien, believed to be hiding at "(insert Lazaro's address here)". Elian was here under a Federal Court order, impossible to be here illegally if a Federal Courts tells you that you can't leave, and if he was indeed arrested, his Miranda rights were never read to him, and council was denied.

Elian Gonzalez was born out of wedlock, and Juan Miguel was a non-custodial parent. There where no tests run to authenticate the claim of fatherhood on Juan Miguel's part. When originally interviewed in Cuba by a US INS agent, Juan Miguel was asked whether he would like to go to the USA to get Elian, he answered "no".

Do you believe that in the US, courts should award custody of an orphaned child to a non-custodial parent without ascertaining paternity first?

You are supporting one of the most criminal acts perpetrated by the Clinton administration, and a violation of at least two, if not more, amendments to the Constitution.

19 posted on 12/6/01 4:29 PM Pacific by Luis Gonzalez

Does the rule of law mean anything to you?

32 posted on 12/06/2001 7:11:06 PM PST by f.Christian
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To: thusevertotyrants
Family harmony? Are you out of your mind? You dare compare burning men, women, and children to death and terrorizing others with machine guns to family harmony? Doesn't matter what else you said in your rant. This is way over the top! You are hoplessly lost.
33 posted on 12/06/2001 7:12:37 PM PST by Jim Robinson
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To: thusevertotyrants
Family harmony my arse. You think about this: Government agents make charcoal out of families comprised of men, women and children then the same cruel witch is left in office to threaten other families, and even a helpless frightened, homeless, motherless little boy with a cursing, hooded, goggled, machinegum toting Nazi stormtrooper and then you dare talk about freedom in the same paragraph? What's wrong with this picture?
34 posted on 12/06/2001 7:18:37 PM PST by Jim Robinson
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To: Jim Robinson
Family harmony? Are you out of your mind? You dare compare burning men, women, and children to death and terrorizing others with machine guns to family harmony? Doesn't matter what else you said in your rant. This is way over the top! You are hoplessly lost

He said nothing about burning men, women or children. He was talking about families and how others do not have the right to take away your children because they believe differently politically. I didn't like to see the machine gun, but people that abduct children that they have no right to are dealt with in that manner in this Country.

35 posted on 12/06/2001 7:19:18 PM PST by Danielle
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To: Jim Robinson; redrock
Jim,

Thanks for posting this and the other Anti-Federalist papers. We were so close to a republic that could last for a long time.

Honest question: Do you think that the Federalists saw greed as an opportunity to exert influence to make personal gain or merely capitulation to form a more perfect union?

36 posted on 12/06/2001 7:20:03 PM PST by nunya bidness
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To: nunya bidness
No.
37 posted on 12/06/2001 7:22:59 PM PST by Jim Robinson
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To: Jim Robinson
The Fed should not have the authority to decide and act on what they think is best for my family. Therefore, I condemn Waco and Ruby Ridge. Essentailly my view is that Elian's extended family did the same sort of thing the Fed did at Waco and Ruby Ridge - namely stepped in where they had no business under the pretense of noble intentions
38 posted on 12/06/2001 7:27:21 PM PST by thusevertotyrants
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To: thusevertotyrants
Someday, somewhere, free men shall again walk this earth.

Yes. Giants once walked the earth, and shall again.

You can't keep this kind of spirit down long.

39 posted on 12/06/2001 7:30:06 PM PST by Doctor Doom
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To: Jim Robinson
No.

Which one?

40 posted on 12/06/2001 7:30:07 PM PST by nunya bidness
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To: Danielle
Family doesn't even enter into the equation. We are talking about government tyranny here. Do you really want government serving warrants to people in their homes with tanks and heavily armed troopers, or sending machine gunners into homes in the middle of the night, bashing innocent people, tossing them to the ground, ripping a terrorized child from the arms of his proctector and for what? All of this over a custody squabble? What is the emergency here that we need to go to these extremes? Is this the way we solve family problems in America? Have we become Nazi Germany?
41 posted on 12/06/2001 7:31:48 PM PST by Jim Robinson
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To: Jim Robinson
We have become Nazi Germany when the government sanctions a father being seperated from his child because those in power think they know whats best for that child and it doesnt jibe with the father's politics !!!!!!!!!
42 posted on 12/06/2001 7:33:08 PM PST by thusevertotyrants
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To: Jim Robinson
Have we become Nazi Germany?

No. We're in the late 1933 stage now.

We still have a few months to go.

43 posted on 12/06/2001 7:36:11 PM PST by Doctor Doom
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To: Jim Robinson
Those "innocent people" were working to keep a father from his child. Noone who attempts to do such a thing to me or my child is innocent by me - therefore, since all men are created equal and I am not entitled to anything my fellow citizens are not entitled to - Noone who keeps a father from their child is "innocent" .. The law should serve to protect a father's custody of his child, even when that father's poliitics differ from our mainstream - THIS is freedom -
44 posted on 12/06/2001 7:37:24 PM PST by thusevertotyrants
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To: Jim Robinson
I cant help but feel that what I hear you saying is that tyranny is acceptable so long as the tyranny is NOT directed against YOUR individual freedom and so long as those propogating the tyranny share a morality in line with yours ........ Please tell no, no - please SHOW me, that I am mistaken
45 posted on 12/06/2001 7:41:33 PM PST by thusevertotyrants
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To: thusevertotyrants
Yeah, right. Well, if you or someone close to you gets into a family dispute over custody of a child, would you want Janet Reno to bash in your door and rip him from your arms while theatening to murder you with a machine gun? This is the way we do it in America?
46 posted on 12/06/2001 7:45:47 PM PST by Jim Robinson
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To: Jim Robinson
Fair question - If I get into an irreconsilable family dispute, then to whome do I sanction the authority to ultimately resolve that dispute. THAT becomes the question. The answer doesnt depend on whether the name or institution in question is identified as "democrat" or "republican" The answers arent easy, and in fact I dont propose to be able to provide them in a one evening forum discussion. But family IS an issue - and it is the reason that just as I can condemn Waco and Ruby Ridge I can condone that some authority had to step in on behalf of Elian's legal guardian - the fact that international relations between two conflicting regimes were also involved of course complicatiung the situation further. The simplest START to an answer is to realize that my government shouldnt infuse me with notions of which political systems are right and which are wrong - that my beliefs shouldnt be shaped by one of those party choices both of which have agendas far beyond the individual freedoms of the citizenry .. that all these things should instead come from my mind and my thought, as shaped by my family and the culture of which I am a part ....... Freedom is a difficult thing my friend, the hardest thing imagineable in many ways
47 posted on 12/06/2001 7:53:45 PM PST by thusevertotyrants
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To: thusevertotyrants
The answer is easy. It's in the Constitution. The courts are used to settle disputes, and, in fact, that was the process on going at the time of the crime. There was no emergency requiring police action, much less the use of deadly force and gestapo tactics.
48 posted on 12/06/2001 7:57:59 PM PST by Jim Robinson
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To: Jim Robinson
I do not interpret the constitution as making it necessary for the government to sanction when I, having committed no crime, can retain custody of my child
49 posted on 12/06/2001 8:00:15 PM PST by thusevertotyrants
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To: Jim Robinson
Now, if there is a question of criminal activity on the part of Elian's father - then the courts are to be called into play. Of course, if the father's crime is his political idealogy - then have we not become Nazi Germany?
50 posted on 12/06/2001 8:01:54 PM PST by thusevertotyrants
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